Professor Sube Banerjee MBE, Professor of Dementia at Brighton and Sussex Medical School (BSMS), run by Brighton and Sussex universities, said that services need to keep pace with the growth in the numbers with dementia in the UK which currently stand at 800,000 and are expected to soar to 1.7 million by 2050.
Professor Banerjee will speak on the subject at the 9th UK Dementia Congress, the largest of its kind in Europe, at Brighton’s Hilton Metropole Hotel, 10–12 November.
People with dementia, he said, have among the highest levels of other disorders (multimorbidity) and yet often receive poor quality health service. He said: "Health systems are providing 20th century medicine to today's patient population. General hospitals are increasingly filled with older people with multimorbidity and who are admitted as emergencies.
"People aged older than 65 years comprise 60 per cent of admissions to hospital, 65 per cent of occupied-bed days, 90 per cent of delayed transfers, and 65 per cent of emergency readmissions and up to a half of them have dementia."
Today's health services and interventions are generally designed for young or middle-aged people, he said, and "often do not help the frail, older populations with multimorbidity, who form most of the patient population".
He said: "The impression given to patients and families of people with dementia in hospitals is often that the patient has failed by not fitting the service."
Professor Banerjee called for national systems to obtain data on the burden, management, and outcomes of patients with multimorbidity: "We need better research to understand multimorbidity from disease mechanisms through to treatment."